New Utah law allows motorcyclists to filter between stopped traffic

The Rogue Souls’ Vice President Spencer Hulon rides his bike in Saratoga Springs. (Thomas Madrigal)

Motorcyclists are now allowed to filter through traffic, also referred to as lane-split, due to a new law signed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert in March. The law went into effect May 14, however there are some stipulations.

Motorcyclists are only allowed to ride between lanes if the lanes are going in the same direction and the marked speed limit does not exceed 45 mph. Additionally, motorcyclists can funnel to the front of traffic at a speed no higher than 15 mph if all the vehicles are at a complete stop.

When Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street was asked if this new law would decrease the number of motorcycle accidents, he said, “It’s still too early to tell.”

However, Street did say the law would have benefits for all drivers, including an increased flow of traffic, decreased motorcycle fuel emissions and a reduced chance for motorcyclists to be rear-ended.

Street, himself an avid motorcyclist, said, “It’s tough to realize the benefits of it as a motorist.”

Rogue Souls’ Motorcycle Club Vice President Spencer Hulon, also referred to as “Gremlin,” added his support to the new law. He expressed that safety while riding is the main priority for himself and his band of brothers.

“The lane-splitting law is a step in the right direction,” Hulon said.

He said that although this law does benefit riders in cities like Provo, he’s had difficulty implementing it into his daily commute in Saratoga Springs. He pointed out that the timing allotted between red lights and when cars are completely stopped typically isn’t enough to make it to the front of traffic. Trying to make it through the intersection, he added, isn’t always the safest option.

He said ensuring the safety of all drivers would require educating not just motorcyclists but also non-motorcyclists to ensure the law is upheld and courtesy is kept.

“The more people know, the better,” he said.

A more informed public would help ensure a safer ride for new motorcyclists like Eli Gilliland. He said the law’s enforcement and increased publicity would benefit young riders like himself and that he hasn’t seen any negative reactions to the law since he began riding in June 2019.

“It seems pretty safely set up as long as people are following the law,” Gilliland said. “I think I might start trying (it).”

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